Monday, May 19, 2014

Pictures Galore

FHE: Solito Family

On the way to the Solito Family

Baptism of Brother Whenie

Sunday best

Add caption

Brix and Yanyan Lumacad

Sweet little duck

Apartment life

No bed, just floor boxes

It's cleaner now, Mom!

5.19.14 Training + Great companion = SUPER Week

Dear Friends and Family,
Kamusta na kamo da??? I hope all is going well back home and that y'all are all having a successful end of school year cramming and what not. I guess college semester is over, crazy! Lot's of things are happening for your summer vacations and I'm still on the island rockin the nametag! ;) LOVE IT! Other than the fact that it's a little fadded out, but President didn't say anything about it in my interview with him this week, so I think it's still okay to wear. You can still see my name and Jesus Christ's name so that's the important parts. We were hopefully going to have a baptism this week, I don't know if you all knew that or not, since I didn't send an email out last week because of SKYPE, which was great by the way, but they didn't come to church last Sunday nor this Sunday. There's supposed to be 2 of them, and neither of them are going to happen for a little bit more of time. They say that they want to prepare more and there's still doubts and they have questions, but what baffles me is that they don't go to church or read the Book of Mormon, so it's kinda like an oxymoron... of course how will you know or get answers if you refuse to do the things that you've committed to do. Sort of funny and sad at the same time, but it's nothing new to my mission. So, I just bear it with love and patience. The 2 things that I've really learned on my mission. You don't have to know someone with a perfect knowledge or know all their background, before you can love them like Christ would love them. Patience, probably the hardest thing for me in the whole world, but I think I've gotten that attribute a lot better being here. Everything doesn't work out how you want it, but that's the whole point. Obviously God has a plan and he's got a purpose for everyone and all the people here need their own time. I can't force them, the only thing I can do, is my part. It's rough sometimes and I do get frustrated, but in the end, I can't do much about it. You know? So it's been a really good lesson. I see a lot how I can apply that to my life in the future. Just try you best, when you fall, get back up, keep walking. There's no point in sitting in sorrow or in the moments of sadness because when it's over? Then what? Nothing, it's just going to be the same. So rather than pouting about things, I just need to get up and keep moving. Like investigators and people not coming to church, I can't get mad about that or upset or frustrated, because in the end what difference does it make. That's the beautiful thing about life, our agency. 
Climbing Santol tree to get some fruit

McDonalds in Bacolod

Switched shirts....don't think this one fits!

Look mom!  Caught a duck!

Mission President's Training was really good this week. We got to travel to Bacolod and go to the mission home which is always a good treat because there's always ice cream at the mission home. And... this time Baked Potatoes! President's Training was actually really good and he talked about his family a lot and about being a leader and a parents and stuff. It was super good and got me excited to have a future family ;) He's actually a really great guy, something I've really been noticing as my mission winds down. His kids are all super smart and successful in the career's and things so far and I don't know, there's just been a big change in respect for him in my heart. We stayed the night in Bacolod, not the best thing because I'm always so tired whenever we sleep there since I only take like... nothing with me. So I never have a pillow or sheet or anything, but it was okay. I slept. ha!

Angelica, Jennifer, Reuben, JessaMae

Working with our Ward Mission Leader, he's awesome and super funny

During the earthquake!

The Bishop in our ward is really pushing all the RMs to work with us since there was some type of report due I guess yesterday so we had people working with us all week this week. I just wish it was the same every week, it's fun to work with RMs and you can talk about mission experiences and things and things they did. I really see how the Bacolod Mission is super different now and WHY we baptize more than any other mission in the Philippines and are #1 in the South Asia Region. We don't mess around here like the other missions. Having activities or social events at the church or zone activities, we work instead of doing these things. Everyone else is so shocked went we tell them no we don't have zone activities, but now we know why our mission is so different than other missions! LOVE IT!
Working with Angelito, the Bishop's brother

Okay, so I'll give an update on some of our investigators:

1.The Lumcad Family. They are doing fantastic! They have a date for the 31st of this month. It's a couple they have 3 kids, but all under 8, so Mom and Dad only for now. They have a 6 year old kid, so in 2 years! Totally good to baptize him too. They were supposed to baptized this coming Saturday, but Brother smoked one cigarette about 2 weeks ago, so we've moved it one for week to MAKE SURE that we're not going to go back to our problems after baptism. He knows and he agreed that we should move the date for baptism so it was a good move. They were at church Yesterday and went to all the classes.

2.Angelica, Jennifer, Reuben, and JessaMae. The last 3 are part members, parents are inactive, but they are totally fine with their kids being taught and baptized. Angelica is just their Friend and a former investigator that once had a date for baptism, but we're not sure what happened. They all have dates right now for June 14 and they all 4 were at church yesterday. So it was super successful.

3.Solito Tribe! So there's a huge group, 1 is a recent convert, 1 is a less active, and the other cousins and siblings that we are teaching. They all live in one house and the mom that lives there is a less active. The grandpa is a less active but came to church twice this month, so he's returning... but all of them are reading and praying for the most part. The only problem is this on Sunday they all had to go work so that they could earn some money. None of them were at church.
Solito Tribe

4.The Sabla-on Family. There's an 18 year old girl who was baptized in April the weekend before i transferred here. And now we're teaching the rest of her family. Just her siblings. Her parents aren't the interested, which is a bummer, but we're trying and we keep trying. But they always are busy or have somewhere to go when we go over. The Recent Convert is a little bit angry about taking her siblings to church because it was sort of her thing. Her time to get away and feel the spirit sort of deal. Kinda like mom and dad just want to go to the store without bringing all the kids along. But... we're trying our best. We gave them all dates for the 24th of June.
5.Regina and Elmarie. They are cousins, these are the two that I mentioned above that didn't come to church this week. Elmarie is totally ready to go and would totally be fine to be baptized, but Regina the older cousin still has doubts and stuff so she says. But we had a super good Plan of Salvation lesson this week about where we come from. We only went that far. We were supposed to finish it up this week, but their schedule was all wacky and stuff. Regina went out of town, so we didn't get to finish it. Then... they weren't at church. Woop. Woop. So, it sucks, but that's life.
That wraps my week up! My companion and I are getting along great and the work is doing really well in our area right now and our numbers are really showing it. We've got some good things coming up with week like FHE with the Lumacad's on Tuesday night and we've invited some Recent Converts to join in and the bishop. We're going to really just grow this place. I have to! I want to and I will. Hopefully it's my last area. Because we're going to find tons and I want to finally see the fruits of my work this time rather than hand it off to another missionary. I love you guys back home. I know the church is church. Continue in your prayers and Scripture Studies and HE will lead you through the rest. LOVE Y'ALL!

Elder Ellis

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Elder + Great Companion = Great 1st Week in New Area

Dear Friends and Family,
Okay, so I assume by now maybe from Mom's facebook that everybody knows that I got transferred! I'm now in Kabankalan Ward. Kabankalan city is like 2 cities merged into one. There are 3 companionships here in this ward. 4 Elders and 2 Sisters. Our apartment is right next to the other Elder's apartments. We just see each other all the time, don't really do much with them, we just focus on what we each need to do. Which is a good thing! I miss Elder Racaza, I wonder how he's doing with the old AP finishing the rest of his training. Elder Burnett is his new companion. He goes home in June though so I guess Elder Racaza will stay in San Enrique a long long time. I just really hope that our baptisms keep going through of the people that we found there, that's the only thing that's on my mind right now and how we're going to get weekly baptism in my new area. 

Last P-day with Elder Racaza

Fried Bananas

My new companion is Elder Espiritu from Quezon City, well just north of it, but we'll just go with that. He's 25 years old, super awesome missionary, and a GREAT companion. He's super focused on the work and he's really making me be a better missionary. I don't even think about non missionary things that much anymore, which is still super hard to do! I know the whole 100% dedication to the work thing, it's super hard to do sometimes, but he's really always just talking about investigators and how we can teach certain lessons better and this and that and it's super awesome! Now I'm always thinking about those things too. We even have a baptism coming up this Saturday. Brother Whenie Mendoza. He's the only person in his family that isn't a member of the church yet. He's 23 years old, his family lives in all different parts of the island and all in different houses, not really sure of the situation or why. The Sister missionaries here just baptized his younger sister this past Saturday, so now he's the only one that left that's not a member. He's had problems with Word of Wisdom, but for the past 5 weeks, clean as a whistle and he's going to be completely washed of SIN on Saturday
New companion Elder Espiritu
(goofing off)

We had a great lesson with him last night and the spirit was just super strong. 
So far my companion and I this week got all the investigators that we are actively teaching and wrote them down. In the Bacolod mission we keep a chart of every Saturday or the month for 4 months, the days that baptisms are held. Then we assigned every single investigator that has a date now to their respective dates of baptism and then all the one's that don't have dates yet, we've planned dates to give. So far we have all the way till June 7 I think it is lined up. We're really going to work on finding this week and next week and prepare for June and July. I told Elder Espiritu that I want to have weekly baptism until I go home. That's 21 Saturdays that I want to fill to have a baptism! So far we're doing good and giving dates and getting investigators at church. We had 6 at church yesterday, which is everybody that is getting lined up well for this month. However yesterday we found out that one of our investigators relapsed and smoked a week ago I think is what he was saying, I was on exchanges, but we just don't know FOR SURE, so we're going to check back tonight and see how he's doing. If they relapse once, it's okay, they can still continue on, but if there's a pattern we've got to move his date. Him and his wife should be baptized though on the 24th of this month. They're a super cool family. This past week we had good lessons on the law of tithing and fast offerings and it was just super good and they totally got it. Most people are still way confused. I think Elder Espiritu and I work really well together. I'm glad I have a great companion right now. Super awesome.
So here in Kabankalan there's this mountain area, we call it, THE BUKID. Meaning, the mountain. Okay, so there's about 10 members up in this area. It's not our area, it's the other Elder's area. They work there about 4 days a week and then they have a part of the proper that they work in too. So when it comes Sunday, one of us goes with them to the Bukid and the other goes to church so they can make sure that all their investigators are accounted for. Since I'm new to the area and don't know all the recent converts and less actives, I had the chance to go the Bukid and go to the church up there. Super hot! Long sleeve shirt! Gotta love it! We worked after the sacrament meeting and things. There's a lot of super good people up there that are devoted to different religions. More than I was expecting. I worked with Elder Mercialles. First time I've met him was here in Kabankalan. It's his 3rd area though. But it was a good day. Then on Sunday night we had a dinner appointment, which was good cause FAST SUNDAY was a killer! Super hot and I was hiking mountains all day. Definitely a good sacrifice I'd say! Haha. But hey, prayers get answers and fasting works, so what can I say? I won't complain ;) The greater the sacrifice, the greater the blessings. 
Special Sacrament meeting in Bukid

I was doing my personal study this week in 3 Nephi and of course, it's my favorite! The best part of the Book of Mormon for sure! The part where Jesus Christ is teaching all the people, I've just started making a list of everything that we hear on a daily basis; of it's all God, it's all the same, all churches are true, I've already been baptized, all this stuff. But this week I took extra time to write all the scriptures down that I'm going to start using to just completely refute these concerns. We had a great lesson yesterday, but I used 1 Nephi 14:10 and just said, there's really only two churches and asked the investigator, which church do you belong too. That was AFTER she had told us that she believes the Book of Mormon to be true! So, it was way cool, It wasn't my area, but I'm excited to see what happens with her. My study has just been really good this week and I'm always just loving the Book of Mormon! :) Like always!
All is going well and hopefully I'll have a better report for y'all in the coming weeks! ;) We're going to have a baptism on Saturday so I'm super stoked!!!! Wish us luck! Y'all are the greatest!

Elder Ellis